It was only three months ago Thomas, Bismark and Solomon joined the inaugural cohort of Future of Africa’s Transition Off the Streets Program (TOSP). Before then the roamed the streets going between Opeibea, Shiashi, Okponglo, American House, Flower Pot, Arts Centre, Tema Station, and Kantamanto, wiping windshields and begging for money to survive.
We met these three through our weekly street outreach program, where university students and volunteers (FOA Leaders) hangout with children in street situations (FOA Children). These three boys had regular conversations with our FOA Leaders, participated in our Literacy and Arts programs, and demonstrated seriousness in leaving the streets.
Their decision to leave the streets is a bold. After a combined 14 years living in the streets they have decided to conquer one day at a time, a similar strategy they used in surviving on the streets of Accra.
Today at the Norviwo Community Centre we are busy wrapping up the 8th week of our Transition off the Streets (TOS) Programming. The last eight weeks have flown by for our #FOAFamily, and we are constantly amazed at all that we have accomplished. We have discovered what we as a family care about, and we believe that we have great power for change. Our #FOAChildren have shown us dedication and commitment as our class sizes have almost doubled; Our #NorviwoScholars have shown us resilience and determination as they continue to work hard and make progress; and our #FOALeaders have shown us integrity and creativity as Norviwo’s programming constantly evolves to better reflect the individuality of our students and the core values of FOA.
This week we had a few highlights, including brownies made by one of our #FOAVolunteers, a challenge of riddles, and an arts and crafts class where the #NorviwoScholars each made their own bags. Creative projects are always encouraged by our #FOALeaders as we have learned that our #NorviwoScholars love to express themselves. We believe that a good classroom environment here at Norviwo requires some element of creativity, whether it be open ended questions, team activities, brainstorming or arts and crafts projects. We have witnessed how innovative our children are, and crafts like this keep our programming more engaging and interactive.
Despite a week full of activity and programming, the big feature at Norviwo this week was without a doubt Solomon’s 17th birthday celebration. We are so thankful to have Solomon in the #FOAFamily and we feel privileged to have celebrated this special day with him. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful; and as we express our gratitude for Solomon, we are filled with so much joy.
“May the happiness and optimism that you constantly spread throughout Norviwo come back to you on this day. Wishing you, Solomon, the happiest of birthdays. We believe that you were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned into the #FOAFamily and we wish for the best things to come as you start this new year.”
Our mission here #AtNorviwo is to successfully transition our #FOAChildren off of the streets, and onto the path of reaching their full potential. Each and every one of our #NorviwoScholars has big dreams, and we believe that with the right tools they will achieve great success and happiness wherever they may find themselves. In addition to our regular educational programming, we have placed a heavy focus on routine this week. #AtNorviwo we believe that developing and sticking to a routine that is harmonious with our goals is one of the surest ways to ensure success amongst our scholars.
Our #NorviwoScholars come from the streets where there is no stability or normalcy in their everyday lives. We feel that in order for Norviwo to be a safe haven and a place of growth, a schedule and a proper routine is essential. Having a proper routine has not only developed healthy habits amongst our scholars, but has also helped us to build an environment of trust. By eliminating the many unknowns of the street, our scholars are able to recognize that they are the priority and that the #FOAFamily is devoted to them.
This week we purchased a clock for every room in the Norviwo Community Centre. Our programming continues to follow a weekly schedule and we feel that this schedule should not only be enforced by volunteers, but that our scholars should also be taking a leadership role in their daily routine. #FOAChildren have faced several difficulties in their lives beyond their control, but it is important to remind them of the many things that they can control. Holding our #NorviwoScholars accountable for attending class, and completing their chores and homework on time, encourages responsible behaviour and the development of independence that they will need when moving on to school in September.
Through numeracy, literacy, and science lessons, we ensure that all of our FOA children are on track to write either school entrance exams or pursue an alternative path. These lessons have been tailored to each individual child’s skillset and goals, and maintaining a proper routine has been essential to monitoring this progress. In addition to monitoring progress, our classroom routine has set the standard for appropriate behaviour through a group reward system. Students adjust to positive behaviours when rewarded, by increasing their participation and responsibilities. The group reward system has promoted self-confidence as well as shared responsibility, encouraging our scholars to achieve successful results. Here #AtNorviwo we believe it is important to support long-term behaviour changes, in order for our #NorviwoScholars to successfully transition off of the streets.
Our hand washing initiative is just one of the ways we are encouraging proper hygiene practices and healthy patterns. According to UNICEF, more than 10,000 children in Ghana die each year from preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Though the simple act of hand washing can reduce preventable diseases by up to 50 percent, for children living on the streets, sanitation and hygiene are challenges of both access and education. We are confident that by instilling the knowledge and behaviours that promote proper wellbeing, we are one step closer to reaching our dream of ending child poverty in Ghana.
Things are evolving here at FOA, and that became very apparent this week as we wrapped up the seventh week of our Transition off the Streets (TOS) programming. Our #NorviwoScholars have been making progress every day as they get closer to starting school, and our movers and shakers behind the scenes are making this all possible.
This week two of our #FOAChildren from the streets joined us #AtNorviwo to spend some time with our #FOAFamily. During this time, we were able to get a better understanding of their history, their strengths, and their future goals. We are so excited to have these boys join our #NorviwoScholars and to watch them reach their full potential!
Our science programming was a hit once again this week as we introduced experimentation. It is important to us here #AtNorviwo that each one of our scholars is accommodated, and we recognize that each student has a different cognitive style. By incorporating experiential learning and hands on projects we are able to make sure all of our students are engaged.
This week we also a started a World Religions class here #AtNorviwo after we realized there was a lot of interest and curiosity amongst our scholars. With interns and volunteers from diverse backgrounds at FOA, we recognized that our scholars were intrigued with the unknown and took this as an opportunity to further develop their intercultural literacy.
Pictured below is Kelvin, one of our original #FOAVolunteers. Following a calling he felt to serve his community, Kelvin remembers the exact day he started volunteering with FOA, on May 22nd, 2016. Kelvin has dedicated his Saturdays to street outreach ever since, as well as recently becoming a classroom teacher during the week days #AtNorviwo. Kelvin’s favourite thing about FOA is the diversity and inclusivity that makes up the #FOAFamily, “where everyone is a leader and all ideas are important”.
Thank you, Kelvin, and everyone else in the #FOAFamily who helps us reach our goal of one less child on the streets while building a culture of selfless service in Africa!
Today brings the fifth week of our Transition Off the Streets (TOS) programming to a close here at the Norviwo Community Centre. We are thankful for the great weather this week, and all the time we have been able to spend outside together. The sunshine has brought many smiles to our #FOAFamily this week.
This week one of our #FOAChildren who is currently studying at Village of Hope in Gomoa came to stay with us #atNorviwo during her school break. We are so proud to hear how amazing she is doing in school, as she takes the #1 class rank in mathematics!
Our regular programming continued this week, and we are pleased to see the progress being made every day by each one of our #FOAChildren. This week our Science programming took the spotlight, with impressive science test scores and a new unit on earth and space science. To end off the week, our #FOAChildren combined their artistic abilities with their new science unit to create a classroom solar system.
Pictured above is Solomon, one of our #FOAChildren here #AtNorviwo, holding a photo he drew of TK. This week Solomon is the Norviwo superstar, scoring highest on the class science test, and achieving the most points in our Norviwo weekly reward program. Each week Solomon continues to brighten our days with his infectious smile and his artistic abilities, through dance, music, and art. Solomon will be turning 17 years old next week, and dreams of being an artist in the future. We are confident that his God- given gifts, along with his hard work ethic, and determination will take him where he wants to go.
We are pleased to welcome some new faces to the #FOAFamily this week as our volunteer team continues to grow! Our #FOAVolunteers are an integral part of what we do here, and we are so thankful for each and every one of them. If you are interested in volunteering with us check out the link in any of our social media profiles, or join us tomorrow for our Saturday night street outreach. #LeadToServeAfrica #LetsEndChildPoverty #FOALeaders #Ghana #Accra
Today marks four weeks of our Transition Off the Streets (TOS) program here at the Norviwo Community Centre. The week has been one full of learning and laughter for both our #FOAChildren and #FOALeaders.
In the classroom, our daily programming has focused on literacy, numeracy, science, and arts. A highlight for our #FOAChildren is always their art projects, which provide effective and engaging methods of self-expression. It has also become a highlight for our #FOALeaders to see the creativity and self-confidence that these projects encourage.
One of the highlights at Norviwo this week was a LEGO project. Everyone’s designs were unique and included some impressive airplanes, trucks and building structures. Soloman (left) and Bismark (right) show off their housing creations.
We are so thankful for this space and the people within it that provide security and a sense of belonging for our #FOAChildren. We are blessed to have Auntie Clara, who keeps Norviwo running smoothly from morning to night. Her delicious cooking keeps our stomachs full, and her contagious smile brings happiness to everyone around her. Auntie Clara makes a lot of things possible at Norviwo, but most notably providing a sense of family as she brings everyone together to eat.
Tomorrow we will be on the streets for our weekly outreach, and on Monday we will be back at Norviwo for the fifth week of our TOS programming. We look forward to what the next week has in store, and we are so grateful for everyone who makes FOA possible. #FOAFamily
The Future of Africa team begun a life-transformation on April 17 to free three girls ages 16, 15 and 14 from the brutal realities of living in the streets of Accra.
When these girls were not sleeping in dark mosquito infested shacks at Airport Bush, they slept on the sidewalks of Marina Mall, Opeibea Intersection or the Legion slum. They survived on pocket change from begging and on bad days on food from the trash bins of Kotoka International Airport and Holiday Inn Accra. Out of fear for their safety, these girls befriended boys in the street who often took advantage of their desperation and demanded for sexual favors in exchange for protection, money and food.
The FOA team got to know these girls through their weekly Good Neighbors Program. FOA Leaders engage children in street situations in literacy, arts and craft and other fun activities. They share meals and engage in conversations to get to know them as well as convince them of a better life off the streets.
These girls were keen to pursue a better life after surviving multiple physical abuse, rape and neglect for 17 years. They are currently enrolled in a boarding school where they have access to safety, quality education, counseling and a hope to realize their full potential.
FOA is committed to helping these children transform their lives. We are making efforts to reunite these children with family. Our plan is to equip them to be responsible young leaders to transform their communities one day.
ADDRESS: 18 Nii Ashong Mlitse, Bridge Junction, Adjiringanor Road, East-Legon, Accra I P.O. BOX AN7541 ACCRA-NORTH I TEL: +233247733392 or +233504708878 I email: email@example.com
Future of Africa (FOA) is a registered not-for-profit organization in Ghana with Reg #CG077842017, TIN #C0008792844